WhatsApp is an instant messaging app that allows free user to user conversations no matter what country or service provider. It is available on all smart phones and even has capabilities for group chatting. In June of 2013, WhatsApp handled a record of 27 billion messages. On average, the app handles about 10 billion messages per day as well as 400 million photos a day. Jan Koum, Chief Executive of WhatsApp, says, “We are driven by the mission that people should be able to stay in touch anywhere and affordably.”
Facebook purchased the app last week for $19 billion ($4 billion in cash with the addition of Facebook shares and stock). It’s the largest purchase backed by venture capitalists ever. Apps similar to WhatsApp, like Viber and WeChat, have put a significant dent in the revenue of telecom operators since it is a free alternative to text messaging. Why pay for an expensive plan so you can make long distance calls to users with different providers when you can do it all for free via a free, user-friendly app?
WhatsApp recently announced that they will be adding voice calls as a feature of their app. This will create serious riff amongst their competition and bring on an array of new competitors. With the addition of WhatsApps voice calls, telecom operators will inevitably suffer to a much greater extent than they already are. This feature will also bring on Microsoft’s Skype as a new competitor. Current competitors like Viber will have to come up with a plan to stand out or they will be blown out of the water by WhatsApp.
by Bridget Devine
Abboud, L., & Reuters, E. A. (2014, February 24). Mobile messenger WhatsApp to add voice calls. chicagotribune.com. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-mobile-world-whatsapp-20140224,0,5301657.story